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Buzz Williams
Henry Coleman III
Texas A&M Basketball

Protecting the 3-point line crucial for Texas A&M against No. 15 Auburn

January 24, 2023

A not-so-fine line has typically been the difference between winning and losing basketball games for Texas A&M.

To be exact, that's the 3-point line where the Aggies have been victimized in defeat. In five of their six losses, the Aggies (13-6, 5-1) have surrendered at least 10 treys. Last weekend, Kentucky hit 11 in dealing A&M its first loss of SEC play.

Opponents are shooting 40.3 percent (63-of-156) from 3-point range in A&M’s losses.

So, as the Aggies head east to face No. 15 Auburn (16-3, 6-1) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT, maybe they can benefit from the fact the Tigers are erratic at the 3-point line.

Auburn is shooting 29.9 percent from 3-point range to rank 13th in the SEC. The Tigers have managed just 33 total treys in their last five games combined.

“I think we just have to continue to do us.We have to continue to be strong on the offensive glass. We have to continue to be really, really good on defense. And offensively, play through everybody.”
- A&M forward Henry Coleman III

That’s the good news.

The bad news is Auburn won all those games.

The Tigers still have major threats in guard Wendell Green, who averages 13.7 points, and 6-foot-10 sophomore forward Johni Broome, who averages 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds.

They’re also one of the better defensive teams in the country. Auburn allows an average of 62.6 points to rank 30th in the nation in scoring defense.

“They’re great at creating live ball turnovers, blocked shots. They play with great aggression on the ball and off the ball,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “Offensively, 54 percent of their shots take place in the first 10 seconds. So, they play really, really fast. I think their offensive rebound percentage when they miss, as of today, is ranked 13th in the country.

“They put pressure on the rim on both sides of the ball. They play very aggressive, very fast. And you could argue it’s one of the best places in the country to play.”

The Aggies must match Auburn’s aggressive play. That means they may have to play with even more intensity than they did against Kentucky.

“I think we just have to continue to do us,” junior forward Henry Coleman III said, who averages 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. “We have to continue to be strong on the offensive glass. We have to continue to be really, really good on defense. And offensively, play through everybody.

“Just play hard, too. The last couple of games of games, we didn’t play as hard as we could. We played hard, but we need to play a lot harder in this league.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In SEC play, A&M has limited opponents to an average of 21.7 points on 22.1 percent from deep in the first half. 

In SEC play, A&M has relied heavily on strong defense, the inside scoring of 6-foot-9 junior forward Julius Marble and the driving of senior guard Tyrece Radford.

Marble has averaged 12.8 points in conference play. Radford has averaged 13.5.

But A&M needs a boost from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV from the 3-point line. Taylor leads the Aggies in scoring with a 14.8 average and with 40 3-pointers, almost twice as many as anyone else.

However, he’s misfired on his last 10 attempts from 3-point range and has been limited to eight points in each of the last two games.

Williams feels Taylor has just hit a temporary dry spell in the ebbs and blows of a long season. However, he indicated Taylor could be more selective with his shots.

“Shot selection … I have no problem talking to four (Taylor),” Williams said. “If you’re missing bad shots, it’s not because you can’t shoot. He can really shoot. You’ve got to shoot our shots.”

Still, past games suggest A&M’s success will depend heavily on defending the 3-point line and denying second shots.

“We’ll have to do a better job than we did against Kentucky on contesting those (3-point) shots,” Williams said. “Similar to Kentucky, they put so much pressure on the rim that you have to make a decision on what you’re going to do in the middle of the floor.

“If they spray out to shoot 3’s, we’ve got to contest them better than we did and, hopefully, finish with a rebound better than we did at Kentucky, too.”

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Protecting the 3-point line crucial for Texas A&M against No. 15 Auburn

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